Editorial: New trend in cosmetology raises eyebrows

How important is your image? Would you be willing to fight legislation in order to receive certain aesthetic services? Furthermore, would you be willing to risk the hygienic standard of the services you receive in order to say, trim up that unibrow?

Ladies, kiss those tweezers, chemicals and hot waxes goodbye.

Threading is a method originating in the Middle East of shaping and removing eyebrow hair with cotton thread that has been manipulated and twisted in order to pull the hair directly from the follicle. It has been gaining popularity in America and Europe. Threading is quick, tidy and affordable.

Here in Phoenix, Valley malls are following the trend with small booths and kiosks opening up alongside cell phone stalls and HDTV displays.

However, like any business, part of operating involves adhering to legislation and local statutes. Whether you’re a food truck catching heat from local restaurants for driving customers away, or an independent threading practitioner working out of a salon, certain laws must be followed and certain standards must be upheld.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes, cosmetologists, aestheticians and nail technicians must be licensed by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology. This is to uphold sanitary and hygienic standards as well as to make sure that consumers are receiving services from trained professionals.

House Bill 2262, authored by Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, would allow “threaders” (threading practitioners) to work without being licensed.

This brings a number of questions into focus. If the threaders aren’t working with chemicals, hot waxes or sharp tools, is there a need to regulate and force them to register with the Board? Or is this an unnecessary and costly barrier to string-wielding brow tamers looking to make a living?

Or, could not requiring them to be licensed set up a hygiene problem similar to that found with hair braiders at popular vacation destinations in Mexico? There, any man, woman or child can pick up a comb and set some cornrows.

Health risks involved with threading (and most hair-removal methods) include folliculitis, an infection of the follicles that results in irritation of the skin and a reddening of the pigment.

After  the poking, prodding, waxing and threading, what this boils down to is a classic case of regulation verses convenience.

While it is more convenient (from the practitioner’s standpoint) to allow this practice to be provided by unlicensed threaders, it is the right of the consumer to receive services in the safest and most hygienic way.


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